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Rainbow Mountain

The View from the Top of the Andes

sunny 50 °F

Rainbow Mountain is located southeast of Cusco, in the heart of the Andes.

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It's official name is Vinicunca, and the mountain is a more mysterious adventure destination, as there is no wikipedia page and information online is scarce.

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After finding out Vinicunca was the inspiration for the Cusquena flag, Sarah looked up some photos and was diligent about finding a way to the trailhead.

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Our day began at 3AM, when we drove a couple hours to Pitumarca where we ate a breakfast of cold bread rolls in a mud hut in 30 degree weather.

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What an eye opening perspective.

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We arrived at the trailhead in Quesyuno as the sun was rising.

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It was quite steep from the get go.

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We passed several herds of resting alpaca and llama.

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And several herds of roaming alpaca and llama.

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As we scaled upwards, we were overwhelmed by the beautifully diverse landscape.

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To the right were steep snow capped peaks:

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To the left were striped multicolored hills:

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As the hours passed, the incline did not let up, and our lungs began to burn with the altitude.

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The Peruvian women hiking in sandals as they led their horses up to the pass inspired us to keep going.

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The final half mile was so challenging, we had to take frequent breaks to not pass out. There are no photos of the tough part- we were trying too hard to breathe.

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When we finally made it to the top, the view was INCREDIBLE!

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We were so happy to have survived the walk up!

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Rainbow Mountain's peak is 16,466 feet tall,

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which means that we climbed to a summit higher than any peak in the continental US!

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Apu is the Incan god or spirit of mountains and locals say that he painted this section of the Andes himself.

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Rainbow Mountain certainly looks like a hand painted masterpiece.

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We spent about an hour at the top soaking in gorgeous views like these, before needing to turn around to descend before sunset.

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We practically skipped down because we could feel the air thicken with each step.

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We were proud and exhausted as we wrapped up the hike.

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We summitted Rainbow Mountain to train for our 4 day Lares trek, so stay tuned for the next post with photos from that adventure!

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Posted by wintermaasz 15:41 Archived in Peru

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How awesome! I'm jealous!

by Charles A Wintermeyer

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